by Photo courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agricultural Specialists announced this week that it made a historical finding with a first-in-the-nation pest discovered at the Otay Mesa Cargo Facility. 

CBP officers encountered a tractor-trailer on Oct. 23, 2022, with a shipment manifested as cut flowers. During the initial inspection, a CBP officer referred the driver and cargo load for an intensive agriculture inspection.

While inspecting the shipment, CBP Agricultural specialists found an unusual insect. According to CBP officials, the pest was submitted to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) Identifiers, who forwarded the specimen digitally to a laboratory for further identification.

The driver of the shipment was returned to Mexico as a precautionary measure. 

Authorities received a final pest identification on  Jan.25, when the laboratory identified the pest to be Corimelaena palmeri, which is a first-time interception of this pest in the nation and has not been recorded in the USDA Pest Identification database.

“Discovering a first-in-nation pest at one of our ports of entry is an extraordinary achievement,” said Sidney Aki, CBP Director of Field Operations in San Diego. “Each year, CBP Agriculture Specialists intercept tens of thousands of pests, this accomplishment is a reflection of their immense hard work and dedication.”

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